In a world full of terrible people, be like Mark Hamill–good and kind, and unapologetically on the right side of history. When I woke up this morning and looked at my to do list, writing an article on Mark Hamill was not up there. But then I started scrolling through Twitter and saw this tweet by Adam Scott and decided I had one too many feelings to ignore, so here we are.
Star Wars is my first real, fandom love. I have the most vivid memories of how entranced I was by this world even when I was too young to really understand the depth behind it all. I have the most vivid memories of being an outsider and mocked because Star Wars is for boys was far too common of an insult back then. But as I got older and began embracing my geeky side, I fell in love with Star Wars all over again. And then one day, I stood on the sidelines because the fandom can be a dark place–so far from what the films and series represent that it’s jarring.
Somehow however, Mark Hamill’s social media presence and his interviews have always been a place of light. No wonder he is Luke Skywalker. But this particular tweet, this belief that fiction can be interrupted as people want to is what is lacking in the Star Wars fandom. Heavens forbid your silly opinion about a galaxy far far away differs from someone else’s. It is what’s made my experiences so negative because the hate I have gotten for shipping or not shipping something is so far from what this series is about. Or for liking a film that was unpopular. Who cares?
“Oh the prequels suck! Oh the sequels suck! Oh I hate this! I hate that!” Who the fuck cares–excuse my language, but I am tired of one of my first real joys of fandom being such a source of darkness because people feel the need to comment on everything they don’t agree with. And this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t when things are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or in general truly problematic in some way. But this is me, asking people to just stop commenting on the small stuff. There is no one true way to interpret Star Wars or these characters.
We are in a galaxy far far away with aliens and things like blue milk, no offense, but who you ship or don’t ship or which character you like or don’t like should not be a concern. Be like Mark Hamill–call out the bullies, but let people bask in the joy of whatever interpretation they see fit.
I don’t write about Star Wars publicly, in fact, because I have always been so hesitant to do so, I have used class courses as an excuse to write about it so I can somehow get things out. I’d love to share my love for Star Wars, but I’m nervous. I’m nervous to say that with the exception of Palpatine’s pointless return, I liked the majority of Rise of Skywalker. I’m not the biggest fan of The Last Jedi even though there are some fantastic moments. And I love The Force Awakens almost as much as I love the originals.
But again, we don’t know Mark Hamill, but we respect the light he has often brought to this fandom–the way he has cared about his coworkers, celebrated them, uplifted them, and the way he has given a voice to those who are often sidelined. And also, the way he has made Adam Scott’s dreams come true, too.
There are very few white men in Hollywood who can be trusted, and Mark Hamill is one of them. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll try to be braver in sharing more about Star Wars with the hopes that it can be approached with respect. Hamill’s presence on social media has been a beacon of hope. His love and respect for Luke Skywalker, but also his love for the fans and their interpretations. Again, calling out bullies is necessary and we’ll always respect that–as is being open to how people read their characters is a beautiful thing, too.
Luke Skywalker is, and has always been hope. Maybe the Star Wars fandom can be brighter, more diverse, more beautiful and less hateful. Hopefully, going forward the Star Wars fandom can use platforms to denounce racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and defend inclusivity through and through. Those are the things that matter. How we interpret fiction is minuscule when compared to how we behave in the world, and it starts by focusing on inclusivity and love.
Let’s all end this by celebrating this epic video, which is not only proof of the fact that Mark Hamill is a great person, but that deep down, no matter how famous or well known, we are all fans of something at heart. We’ll all shake and freak out meeting our idols, and sometimes, the heroes are worth meeting.